Tag Archives: coming out

Thank you, Brittney Griner

Check out a related post on Jason Collins.

As with pro basketball, I do not follow college basketball on my own. I pay enough attention so I can  hold conversations with my wife who rather avidly and faithfully follows both the women’s and men’s teams from a university in Durham, North Carolina. The result is that I do know who Brittney Griner is – although I could not run down the details of her amazing career.

Earlier this evening, I posted about Jason Collins coming out of the closet.

I am grateful to my friends Margaret Aymer Oget and Shaya Gregory Poku for reminding me that Brittney Griner left the closet on April 17.  In doing so, they helped me realize that I should have posted about her actions as well.

The words I wrote about Jason Collins apply to Brittney Griner as well:

But as of today – and that today should have been April 17, Brittney Griner is one of my heroes. 

I give thanks for the witness and courage and faith and grace of Brittney Griner. I pray that her actions will make life better, safer, fuller, more human, and more humane for the people I know and love and for all the LGBTQ members of the human family.

A number of questions need discussion as we ponder the different reactions to the same act of coming out by Brittney Griner and Jason Collins. For starters:

  • What role does sexism play?
  • What role does patriarchy play?
  • Are female athletes stereotyped as lesbians?
  • Do female athletes who come out fuel male fantasies while male athletes who come out fuel male fears?
  • Does a greater level of tolerance related to sexual orientation exist in the WNBA and women’s sports than in men’s sports? If so, why is that and what role does it play?

No doubt we need to address other questions – many other questions. For now, those make a good beginning.

And for me, one part of the answer lies in thanking Margaret Aymer Oget and Shaya Gregory Poku for raising these questions for me, no matter how poorly I have addressed them at the moment. And another part lies in saying:

Thank you, Brittney Griner.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Current Events, Sports

Thank you, Jason Collins

Check out a related post on Brittney Griner.

I follow professional basketball just enough to talk about the sport with my sons. Before today, I did not know who Jason Collins is. I still don’t know much about his playing career or his ability.

But as of today, Jason Collins is one of my heroes. In an article published on the Sports Illustrated Web page and soon to appear in the print version, Jason Collins left the closet:

I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.

With those words, Jason Collins broke a barrier in sports. He became the first openly gay male athlete to acknowledge his sexual orientation while still active in a major American team sport. I encourage you to read his full statement, but here are some quotes that spoke to me:

The recent Boston Marathon bombing reinforced the notion that I shouldn’t wait for the circumstances of my coming out to be perfect. Things can change in an instant, so why not live truthfully?

I learned that long ago. Again and again, life has reminded me of that reality. Sometimes I live according to Jason Collins’ wisdom; I hope to do better.

My parents instilled Christian values in me. They taught Sunday school, and I enjoyed lending a hand. I take the teachings of Jesus seriously, particularly the ones that touch on tolerance and understanding.

I give thanks for his parents and the support they and his faith provide. I pray that all may know such support from family and friends.

Some people insist they’ve never met a gay person. But Three Degrees of Jason Collins dictates that no NBA player can claim that anymore. Pro basketball is a family. And pretty much every family I know has a brother, sister or cousin who’s gay. In the brotherhood of the NBA, I just happen to be the one who’s out.

What is true about NBA players is true for me is true for all of us. Whether we know or whether we do not know, we have all met an LGBTQ person, we have all met many LGBTQ persons. We love LGBTQ persons. LGBTQ persons love us. I know and love LGBTQ persons. I am blessed that LGBTQ persons know and love me.

I give thanks for the witness and courage and faith and grace of Jason Collins. I pray that his actions will make life better, safer, fuller, more human, and more humane for the people I know and love and for all the LGBTQ members of the human family.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Current Events, Sports